The Regimen

Glycolic Acid or Retinoids for Ageless Skin? Both!

A lot of people are confused about which is better for keeping skin bright and youthful, glycolic acid or retinoids? Why choose? Both have excellent age-decelerating benefits that combine to form a perfect synergy.


First, let’s get straight on what each of these superstars does for your skin. Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid. It’s a chemical exfoliant, which means it removes the top layer of dead skin cells by basically dissolving the cellular “glue” that binds the cells together. When the dead cells are sloughed off, youthful new cells are revealed.


This removal of the dead skin cells is essential to keeping skin looking healthy and vibrant. First, it speeds up cell turnover and regeneration, something that is naturally slowing as we age. When dead skin is allowed to build-up, skin appears dull, and lines and wrinkles become more visible.


The other crucial benefit of glycolic acid’s exfoliating properties is the enhanced-absorption of additional products. With that layer of cellular debris cleared away, corrective ingredients like retinoids can more easily make their way to the deeper levels of the dermis where they can activate cell receptors.


Retinoids are also cell-regenerators that unblock pores. The difference is that these vitamin A (think Retin-A®) derivatives work below skin’s surface as well. In the dermis level of skin, retinoids encourage cell proliferation, stimulate collagen and elastin production, combat DNA damage caused by UV exposure, and improve circulation resulting in a thickening of the skin and a healthier, firmer skin structure.


Used together, the two join forces to give skin a radiant, youthful appearance. As a bonus, if you have adult acne, both glycolic acid and retinoids (vitamin A) are top acne-fighting ingredients. The combination also works to reduce discoloration because excess pigment, which begins deep in the skin, is removed layer by layer as cells are regenerated.


You can find this powerhouse pair of glycolic acid and Vitamin A Propionate (our patented retinoid) in our Exfol-A and Exfol-A Forté serums, levels two and three of our multi-tiered vitamin A therapies. These are among our more intensely transformative serums. If you have oily or acne prone skin, you will acclimate more quickly to daily use. If your skin is dry, you may need to alternate days for a longer period. In either case, you will see some flaking. That’s the normal result of accelerating cell turnover. Of course, if it seems excessive or irritated, you’ll want to back off for a few days. Once you get past the acclimation, you’ll be loving your new radiance.

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